WATERFORD, Conn. - A chilly night greeted race fans in attendance for Waterford Speedbowls program on Saturday evening but the action on the track stayed red hot.
Scoring NASCAR Whelen All-American Series victories were Frank Mucciacciaro in the SK Modifieds, winning for the first time since 2006 while Keith Rocco of Meriden won his ninth Bob Valenti Auto Mall Late Model feature of 2013. Danielsons Ryan Waterman won his second Street Stock feature of the year and Ken Cassidy Jr. of Lisbon won another Mini Stock feature, recording an important victory in his accomplished racing career. Wayne Shifflett of Preston took down the checkered flag in the nights X-Car race.
Mucciacciaro earned a hard-fought victory to end a draught that stretched back several seasons. He benefitted by way of a pole starting position but was fast from the start. He took the lead over Jeff Gallup, then endured four yellow flags for incidents which slowed his pace. After taking control, the field settled in behind Mucciacciaro over the opening laps.
Gallup was second ahead of Joe Gada and Rob Janovic. Todd Ceravolo battled Nicole Morgillo for fifth place when on lap-5, Morgillo got loose out of turn two in the outside lane. Her car made slight contact with Craig Lutz sending both sliding off the back stretch into the grass in turn three to draw the first yellow flag. Both cars were able to resume from the rear of the field.
Mucciacciaro resumed his lead after a solid restart. Gada tried to snatch second position away from Gallup to no avail when the next caution flag was out on lap-10. Morgillos car slowed in turn three and after she recovered, her car went spinning out of turn four making contact with the front stretch wall. Corey Coates and Shawn Thibeault also were collected as the yellow flag flew. All three were able to resume after a visit to the pit area.
Gallup tried to wrangle the lead away from Mucciacciaro when racing went back to green, but the veteran racer was able to fight off the bid. Ceravolo darted his way by both Gada and eventually Gallup into second position to get on Mucciaciaros rear bumper and immediately tested the outside of the track to challenge for the race lead. As the top two cars pulled ahead, Gallup and Gada were locked in a battle for third leading a string of cars that battled side-by-side behind them. Janovic, Kyle James, Keith Rocco, Diego Monahan and Tyler Chadwick were all among the traffic jam behind the leaders as the race moved past halfway.
That pack continued to slice and dice as Gada got third from Gallup, who tucked in line to open up the outside lane for James to try and move into contention for a second consecutive win. A three car battle for fourth position heated up on lap-19 as James pressed Gallups outside but Janovic saw an opening to the inside of the track exiting turn two.
A three-wide scenario saw the cars race down the back chute and through turn three before calamity struck when they ran out of racing room in turn four. Contact was made and the chain reaction sent Chadwick careening into the wall. The caution flag returned as the defending champion limped to the pit area, unable to return.
Mucciacciaro still held the lead for the restart. He was able to race ahead of Ceravolo when the green flag flew however Ceravolo refused to back down after tucking back in line behind. Ceravolo hounded Mucciacciario, trying both the high and low grooves but was never able to get a wheel alongside the leader to establish a passing lane. A final chance for Ceravolo came on a lap-24 restart after the final caution flag waved when John Montesanto spun off turn four into the grass and was unable to refire his machine.
Again, Mucciacciaro controlled the restart and was clear of Ceravolo out of turn two. Over the final 11 laps it was much of the same, as Ceravolo pestered Mucciacciaro. Gada and Janovic raced behind in third and fourth positions while Rocco was able to get by Gallup for fifth on lap-26. Up front, Mucciacciaro held back every charge Ceravolo mounted to capture the victory.
Ceravolo settled for second place while Janovic was able to put a final lap move to the inside of Gada to take third. Gada was fourth and Rocco finished fifth. Rocco was forced into a borrowed ride after his primary No. 88 car lost an engine in practice.